Friday, March 23, 2007

Irresistible Revolution

The following quote is from Shane Claiborne's Irresistible Revolution: Living As an Ordinary Radical. In Chapter Seven, he describes an encounter he had with Iraqi Christians while visiting Baghdad:

One of the most beautiful worship services I've ever experienced was just a few days before I headed home. Hundreds and hundreds of Christians from all over the Middle East had gotten together - Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox - they read a statement from the Christian Church directed to the Muslim community declaring that they loved them and believe that they are created in the image of God.

Then we all sang together ... we said the Lord's Prayer in several languages. ... It was a holy time.

Afterward I was able to meet with one of the bishops who had organized the gathering, and I explained to him that I was shocked to find so many Christians in Iraq. He looked at me puzzled, and then gently said, "Yes, my friend. This is where it all began. This is the land of your ancestors. That is the Tigris River and the Euphrates - have you read about them?" And I was floored at my own ignorance, at the fact that the ancient roots of our faith lie here - this is the land of my ancestors. Christianity was not invented in America - How 'bout that?

This bishop went on to tell me that the Church in the Middle East was deeply concerned about the Church in the United States. He said, "Many Americans are for this war." And I nodded. And he asked, "But what are the Christians saying?"

My heart sank. I tried to explain to him that many of the Christians in the United States are confused and hope that this is a way that God could use to liberate the Iraqi people.

He shook his head and said, very humbly, "But, but we Christians don't believe that. We believe Blessed are the peacemakers. We believe if you pick up the sword, you die by the sword. We, we believe in the cross." Tears welled up in his eyes as he said, "We will be praying for you. We will be praying for the Church in the United States to be the Church."

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